Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Here we go Loopty Loop, Here we go Loopty La - the Davis Loop

You got to be KIDDING! It's already past Labor Day. The year is flying by.

We took a break and hauled the camper down to Fort Davis, Tx to meet Marvin & Jeannie Burrows for a weekend of fun and relaxation. We took off about Friday at noon after dealing with UPS all morning. I had ordered a new fifth wheel hitch, a trailer mate,

and it was supposed to be delivered Friday before the end of the day. Checking UPS's website the tracking number showed that it was still in Albuquerque. It didn't show it ever leaving but it had arrived there Thursday evening. I called UPS Friday morning to make sure if it had arrived or not. At first they had not unloaded the truck and said they'd call me back. The UPS lady called me back about 10:30am and told me that it hadn't been on the truck so it would be Tuesday before it would be delivered. Well, that was a relief because I didn't want it to sit on my porch all weekend if we left before it was delivered.

So, we got everything together and packed. Ran the few errands we needed to take care of and left for Fort Davis about noon. We decided we'd go to Arkansas Junction and have lunch at Monty's Grill. They don't seem to be quite as busy as they used to be but their food is still very good. Patsi and I split a green chile cheeseburger and an order of fries.Got to visit with some old friends, Skip and Joe Dunn. I think we finally got on the road about 1:30 or so. I had played with the computer on my truck and was running another program than I ordinarily run for towing. It pulled a little better and got a little better mileage. I think my computer readout showed 13.7 mpg. Normally it is around 11.5 mpg. So, I think the tinkering with the settings was worth it.

We arrived at Macmillen RV park in Fort Davis about 5:30 pm. Still plenty of daylight to set up and relax a little. We checked to see if the wifi worked ok and it was working really good. I check my email and wouldn't you know it...UPS delivered my hitch in front of my garage at 2:21pm. I was fit to be tied. I was going to call them but we didn't have cell service. Plus I didn't have a clue as to who to call at the moment. I finally cooled off some and Patsi suggested we drive to Alpine and see if we might happen to get a signal there. So we drove to Alpine but no signal there either. But they did have a grocery store that sold wine, so we bought a couple of bottles of wine. And they had a pay phone outside. When is the last time you used a pay phone?? It's the first time I've used one in many years. I wasn't even sure if they still had pay phones.

Anyway I gave my good friend, J D Clayton a call. He has a pickup with a tommy lift and asked if he could do me a BIG favor. He said he'd take care of it....and he did. A BIG Thank You to you, JD. I really appreciate it.

Drove back to Fort Davis and visited with some of our camping neighbors til Marv and Jeannie arrived. Marvin had to work til 3:00 or so and they didn't get in til 10pm CDT.

Saturday morning we went to Alpine for the Balloon Fiesta. It wasn't quite on the same level as the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta as they only had 10 balloons and 2 ultralights. They launched the 2 ultralights and 2 balloons made it up. It wasn't very windy but I think the breeze was blowing in the wrong direction and would take them over some hostile territory of a less than friendly rancher.
Me with the girls - Marv had to take the pic.

 Patsi, Jeannie, & Marvin

 Marvin, Patsi, Jeannie

 Balloons with ultralight in background

 Utralight coming in for landing

We ate lunch at a place called McGoo's right across from McDonalds. It was nearly noon but we all had breakfast. I had Huevos Rancheros and they were good. Not quite as good as the New Mexican huevos rancheros with the fantastic green chile sauce that you can only find in northern and southern NM. But, all in all it was a very good breakfast at lunch. Went shopping at a few places in Alpine and bought a few odds and ends.

Drove back to Fort Davis to the campground. We cut one of the watermelons that we brought and chowed down on it. After getting up early and traveling to Alpine we were tired out so, Patsi and I took a nap. I think Marvin and Jeannie did a few things to their motorhome, cleaning and rearranging, etc. We grilled some chicken, burgers, and hot dogs and had a great dinner. Jeannie had made some carrot cake cookies that were out of this world good.

We did the Star Party at the McDonald Observatory about 18 miles west of Fort Davis. A real nice drive from the campground to the observatory.

Sundial Court - Entrance to the gift shop

It was a night after a full moon so the stars weren't exceptionally bright but we got to view Saturn, M11, M7, M17, and the moon. The moon view was really spectacular.
There were about 400+ people at the star party. 
I'm sure it would be a lot nicer with a smaller group.

 Marv & Jeannie's motorhome, our camper & PU in background

 Our campsite

Good level camp spots

The surrounding country was very green due to some recent rains. But the rains also brought a great crop of goatheads. The campground and everywhere else we went had an enormous amount of goatheads growing. We had to be very careful not to track them into the campers. It isn't much fun to step on a sticker barefooted walking around in the camper.

Sunday we drove into town to have breakfast with Marvin while Jeannie was at mass. We had breakfast at The Drugstore, a historical building and business in Fort Davis. Later after breakfast and mass we drove to Marfa to go to the USO Gun Show and Marfa Lights Festival. Marvin drooled over a few guns while the ladies waited outside. the Marfa Lights Festival was really diminished from the years we were vendors here. I couldn't believe how few vendors they had. I guess the economy has really affected the vending business. Sure glad we aren't doing it anymore. It was a lot of work. On the way back we drove the Davis Loop, a 74 mile loop through the Davis Mountains. A very scenic drive. If you get a chance to travel it, I would highly recommend it.

Labor Day....Monday....Break camp, pack up and head back to the homestead and the HEAT! It was a 102 degrees when we got to Pecos. Marvin and Jeannie stopped at Balmorhea State Park to check out the pool. It is the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool, which covers 1.75 acres and stays at 72–76 degrees year round. The pool is open daily. Fed by San Solomon Springs, 22 – 28 million gallons of water flow through it each day. At 25 feet deep, and with a capacity of more than 3.5 million gallons, the water in the pool is replenished 7-9 times daily. Now that's a lot of water. We didn't stop because we'd been there and I wanted to get back and try out the new 5th wheel hitch before it got dark.

JD brought the hitch by shortly after we got back home. I had already removed the old hitch so all I had to do was unpack and install it. Patsi and I took a short drive out on the Plains highway because the road is really rough. The difference was really amazing. It now feels more like your just riding in a pickup instead of a bone jarring truck pulling a trailer. It should be easier on the 5h wheel also, a lot smoother ride.

Well, it sure has been hot and it was really hard to get back in the grove. Yesterday I reorganized the possum belly on the 5th wheel so it should be a little easier to find things. Worked on the old van today trying to get the body off. I did get the front end removed so I'll be able to remove the engine and tranny fairly easy now.

I'll leave the center section for an extension of the 41 Chevy COE cab. The rest of the body I'll remove. I'll save the back end with the doors to reattach to the extension part. Right now I just need to get the frame ready so I can move it out of the shop. I want to get started back on the New Mexi-Can and I need more room in the shop. I've got to rebuild all the windows and I have to have room to spread them out and take them apart.

So, until next time......

You can never get enough of what you don’t really need.


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